Rumbo Italiano (1817 Seventh Street NW) opens today at 4 p.m. with a tropical new look and a reinvented menu. The bar will sell some of the same best-selling slushies and cocktails as Cotton & Reed — the rum distillery that Smith oversees in the Union Market district. The name is a playful riff on Dean Martin’s hit Mambo Italiano.
Familiar draft cocktails ($10) include the Redbeard (Cotton & Reed White rum, Campari, RB Ginger Beer, lemon) and Rumba Palumba (Cotton & Reed White, Ilegal Mezcal, grapefruit soda, and lime). New drinks include a gin and tonic laced with spiced rum and a salted cucumber vodka soda.
At Rumbo, Smith is introducing the line of Redbeard sodas and syrups, named after his own facial hair, that he’s been creating for years in D.C. His RB Ginger Beer makes its way into a low-ABV Italico-Iberico, with Aperol and Fino. Stronger drinks include a rum-rye Old Fashioned with coconut bitters, and a tequila Negroni flavored with cachaca and juniper.
The lone beer on the list is Italian, naturally. A 10-ounce pour of Peroni comes in a frozen mug. There’s also $8 wines by the glass and bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow ($60).
Cotton & Reed plans to sell its cocktails at the bar for at least a month — and maybe permanently. The food side will continue to follow &pizza’s lead.
For opening night tonight, the bar will host an instrumental surf rock band from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.